How can we have faith in the future if the same people choosing it for us have failed us in the past? We can’t. The answer is a no-brainer but there’s no wonder that the people who failed us refuse to accept the answer. More unacceptable is if they choose to compound their mistake (or is that crime?).
This is the catch-22 of intentions Knysna squats in.
The future of Knysna is to be decided by a new concept for South Africa – the ISDF (which translates into the cumbersome name of Integrated Strategic Development Framework – something such as Future Plan or Futurama, with banning of the acronym, would have been easier to understand). It’s supposed to interconnect plans and people, manage decisions for the future, make a change for the better with all falling under a happy structure filled with plans and actions. Happy because the plan is supposed to involve you. Your opinion is supposed to count; your criticisms and your input.
Your interactivity will take place in ‘workshops’ called ‘café’s’. There’s the Connection Cafe to get information and share ideas. The Workshop Café will be the community contribution to planning. Interviews will become information at the Data Café whilst Road Café’s will interact with wards and interest groups. The results will be exhibited at the Expo Café.
Neat concept. Sounds great. But is it?
On the flyer, community words such as “integrated”, “interconnect”, “interactive”, “share” and “your” are used a whopping 17 times. It makes one feel special, a believer in the promise of, “Giving us all a better life and a better place to live.” As a final say, they even salute your involvement in capitals: “YOU will shape the future by sharing your ideas for a better Knysna.” Just imagine if that was delivered in that husky, slow male voice that advertises the Jean Claude van Damme movies: “YOU will shape the future by sharing your ideas for a better Knysna.”
Sign me up! Oh – wait. There’s that pesky worry that since the people who are telling us this are the same people who lied to us before, they may be lying again.
There’s the Municipal Manager, Lauren Worrying…err…Waring. As shared with you in parts 1 and 2, she mishandled the objections so badly that one can only think that she did so deliberately – strike 1 for the promised interactivity!
Then she refused to be helpful when faced with an order from the PAIA (Promotion to Access Information Act) – strike 2 for not wanting to be honest with YOU!
Then there’s the big advert the Knysna Municipality put in the Action Ads, our local classifieds:
I S D F
GIVING US ALL A BETTER LIFE AND A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE
Knysna Executive Mayor,
Cllr Georlene Wolmarans invites you to the
Introduction of the ISDF
Community Interaction Event
They asked us to meet them at the Connection Cafe (there’s that sharing vibe again) but even one of their staff members had to go to my blog to find out that it was in the local library (a temporary location whilst our clever government spends R5 million refurbishing the old one). One can only wonder why they never emailed all the ratepayers so that more people could have shared this historical moment when we would finally shrug off our helplessness and become valuable human beings in our own lives (bet they wish that they’d thought to be so clever as to use the words “our” and “own” next together).
We were in for a big, confusing disappointment!
A first for me was getting to drink wine in the library. I ignored my paranoia which said that we were being lubricated like stunned lambs to a slaughter. In fact, every member of the public skipped mentioning past complaints and mused as to what was about to be delivered. In itself, that was an incredible feat considering we were surrounded by people such as Speaker Michelle Wasserman, Deputy Mayor Esme Edge and Councillor Richard Dawson who had either lied, being unhelpful or obstructive to many times before. I even ignored the irony of Michelle saying hello (ironic because even when she was Deputy Mayor she refused to speak to me but when other people can see both of us, she always pretends to be classy by greeting me). There were even 2 non-white politicians there, no mere tokenism considering that they, in the past we try to forget, were suppose to score from BEE developments by the same white people who were in the room with us now. That wine sure felt comforting.
A bit late, as is expected of our small town of Knysna, the ‘meeting’ began…and became a very big STRIKE 3…
And that movie voice says, “See you tomorrow for the next exciting episode…”
Whilst the song played over the credits goes…
“Ag pleez Deddy won’t you take us to the drive-in
All six, seven of us, eight, nine, ten
We wanna see a flick about
Tarzan an’ the Ape-men
An’ when the show is over you can bring us back again…”
Read Part 4, ‘The DA Evil Has Landed’ in which I provide new, worrisome revelations about the people involved in the ISDF.